Victorian and Queensland studios dominated at the 2021 Australian Game Developer Awards (AGDAs) hosted by the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (IGEA) tonight as part of Melbourne International Games Week (MIGW) 2021. Four Victorian and three Queensland studios won across nine categories, with Queensland studio Witch Beam taking out the coveted Game of the Year Award for its zen puzzle game Unpacking.

Australian Game Developer Awards

Witch Beam Art Director and Designer Wren Brier, said she was overjoyed at the relaxing game picking up two honours. “It’s humbling to be part of a roster of amazing studios with incredible games that have won this award. We’re so pleased that Unpacking also took home the Excellence in Accessibility Award as we’re firm believers that video games can and should be enjoyed by everyone.”

Victorian studio Beethoven & Dinosaur also picked up two awards including the Excellence in Art and Excellence in Audio Awards for psychedelic action indie The Artful Escape, featuring actors Lena Headey and Jason Schwartzman.

WA-based Black Lab Games won the Studio of the Year Award, which founder Paul Turbett was thrilled about receiving. “We are honoured for everyone at Black Lab Games to be recognized for their creativity and hard work with the Studio of the Year Award. We strive to be a place that makes and supports great games with great people, and it’s wonderful to see our team celebrated for that.”

Rounding out the career, culture, and contribution awards for the 2021 AGDAs are four fantastic members of the Australian games community. Steve Wang from Wargaming Sydney was awarded the prestigious Adam Lancman Award for his contribution and advocacy for, and on behalf of the local games industry.

Chad Toprak was recognized for Raising the Bar within the local community and Kathleen Smart and Ashley Van Wyyngard were jointly presented with the Rising Star Award for the impact they have made on the local industry in a relatively short space of time.

“Each of these worthy individual recipients received numerous nominations from across the industry and it is a joy to recognize them with these awards tonight,” said Ron Curry, CEO of IGEA.

“The AGDAs are the perfect opportunity to celebrate the Australian games industry and the amazing people who work within it. Australian developers create games that are enjoyed internationally, by millions of people, giving credence to the creativity, skill, and hard work of our Australian studios. All of these games, studios, and individuals truly deserve these Awards – not just for video games, but for the work and contributions they have made to the wider screen sector.”

IGEA has been delighted to have Tencent Games support this year’s AGDAs event and champion the Australian game development industry. The AGDAs were hosted online by Mashable writer Amanda Yeo, and award-winning television presenter, video game critic, and tech commentator Angharad Yeo.

AGDA winners

  • The Adam Lancman Award: Steve Wang (Wargaming Sydney)
  • The Raising the Bar Award: Chad Toprak (Freeplay Independent Games Festival)
  • The Rising Star Award: Kathleen Smart (Joy Everafter Stories) & Ashley Van Wyngaard (Wargaming Sydney)
  • Studio of the Year: Black Lab Games
  • Game of the Year: Unpacking (Witch Beam)
  • Excellence in Art: The Artful Escape (Beethoven & Dinosaur)
  • Excellence in Gameplay: Webbed (Sbug Games)
  • Excellence in Narrative: The Forgotten City (Modern Storyteller)
  • Excellence in Audio: The Artful Escape (Beethoven & Dinosaur)
  • Excellence in Accessibility: Unpacking (Witch Beam)
  • Excellence in Mobile Games: The Oregon Trail (Gameloft Brisbane)
  • Excellence in Serious Games: Sharmila (Chaos Theory Games and the World Food Programme)
  • Excellence in Ongoing Games: Pico Tanks (Panda Arcade)
  • Excellence in Emerging Games: Video World (Things for Humans)

About IGEA

IGEA (Interactive Games & Entertainment Association) is the peak industry association representing the voice of Australian and New Zealand companies in the computer and video games industry. IGEA supports the business and public policy interests of the games industry through advocacy, research, and education programs, and working with many stakeholders including all levels of government, agencies, media, and other trade associations.

IGEA advocates on behalf of its members, who range from one-person studio start-ups to larger multinational developers, publishers, platform holders, and digital storefronts. IGEA’s role is to help members and the wider industry more effectively create, distribute and sell interactive games, entertainment content, and related hardware.

Through the provision of consistent and frequent industry research and data, along with communications programs, IGEA promotes the interactive games industry both locally and abroad.

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